The word anti hero can be defined as a protagonist who lacks the qualities that are normally admired in heroes.

They may have villainous or morally ambiguous attributes, making them not so heroic.

An anti-hero typically has flaws and disadvantages which make it difficult for them to succeed but they do get by through their wit, intelligence, and determination.

In literature, this type of character is often used to explore ideas of what it means to be human:

  • how society views outsiders and those with mental illness;
  • the darkness inside all people; and
  • other social issues.

What Is An Anti Hero?

Francis Underwood from House of Cards is one example of an anti hero because he’s immoral when necessary (he kills people, after all!).

Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck in The Joker is another good example of an anti hero. We want to like him at the start of the film, but his almost pre-ordained descent into madness in the second half of the film is too much for most viewers to stick by him.

The term anti-hero can be applied to various characters, including those from novels and films, as well as others in the public eye.



What Does It Mean To Be An Anti-Hero?

An anti hero is a protagonist who lacks all the heroic qualities needed to be a hero.

They are most often not evil or immoral, but they do lack all the traits of traditional heroes such as bravery, nobility, and virtue. And they add in some of their own, like aggression, cynicism, and other character imperfections.

Anti-heroes are often seen as more “realistic” than other types of heroes because their flaws make them seem like more plausible people in the real world.



Anti-heroes are usually imperfect characters that have something morally wrong with them, but they also possess a redeeming quality or two.

They may not always make the right decisions, but their intentions are often good deep down so it’s hard not to root for them.

An anti-hero is a protagonist with ambiguous morality. They can be seen as someone who has the potential to do both good and bad things, but unlike heroes, they often act for their own personal gain rather than out of altruism.

In some cases, they may not even have a grasp on what is right or wrong at all.

They are often very flawed people with moral dilemmas that they have difficulty resolving. Anti-heroes can be seen in many different types of media and may not always be traditionally good-looking or charismatic.


Anti-Hero Characters

Anti heroes are the type of characters that we love to hate. They have all the traits that make them compelling and interesting, but they also have a dark side. There’s always something about them that makes you not want to root for them at all.

The anti-hero is a well-known literary device that has been around for centuries. They are the protagonists in novels who have flaws and make bad decisions, but through these mistakes, they are able to show humanity’s complexity and contradictions.

While some readers may not like them because of their often destructive behavior, many people find them interesting because they can be very complex characters.

The current trend of anti-heroes has been around for decades but is now popularized via TV shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

We are so used to the classic hero archetype that when someone does something bad, we as an audience want them to get punished. But there’s another side of us that wants these characters to be rewarded for their actions.

It’s tricky stuff!

Anti-Hero Meaning Is Rooted In the Classics

The word “anti-hero” has a long and complex history in literature. The concept of the anti-hero is rooted in Ancient Greek tragedy, where it was used to describe the protagonist who commits the unpardonable sin or ‘hamartia.’

Afterward, the term began to be applied more broadly to any character who behaved in an unideal manner.

In more recent times, many authors and filmmakers have begun using this archetype as a way of exploring moral ambiguity and challenging traditional notions of heroism.

When we are children, we often look up to our heroes. We believe they can do no wrong and that they are perfect in every way.

As we grow older, however, the idea of a hero is more nuanced. Heroes may have flaws and be imperfect, but what sets them apart from anti-heroes is their ability to overcome adversity.

In other words, an antihero is someone who typically exhibits characteristics such as selfishness, dishonesty, greediness.

When most people hear the word “anti-hero,” they think of a villain. However, just like how heroes can be villains, anti-heroes can sometimes be heroes too.

In Greek mythology, Achilles is considered to be an anti-hero who serves as a protector and savior for his countrymen by sacrificing himself for them willingly in order to bring about peace.

Anti-Hero Movies

Anti-hero movies are often dark and contain graphic violence. These films depict a world where good does not always triumph over evil, and law enforcement is sometimes corrupt.

A great example is De Niro’s classic turn in Taxi Driver.

But what exactly is a hero?

Is it the person who saves lives and keeps us safe from harm? Or, is it someone that does something good in spite of the consequences they will face? The line between hero and villain can be blurred.

How can we not love the anti-hero? These flawed characters are so popular because they remind us of ourselves.

They’re complex, with good and bad qualities, and their imperfections make them more believable than a superhero who is perfect in every way.

Do you have a favorite anti-hero movie?

If not, there are many great ones to choose from. Some well-known movies with an Anti-Hero as a central character include The Dark Knight and Fight Club.

What’s An Anti-Hero with Morals?

An anti-hero with morals is a protagonist who does not have all the traits that we typically associate with heroes. But still have many of the moral values inherent in the classic hero stereotype.

These characters are often considered morally ambiguous, but they still have some moral code or ethical system to follow. They may be rebellious, conflicted, and even selfish at times. But they always seem to do what’s right in the end.

There are some heroes in fiction who don’t have the typical “save the day, goody-goody” personality.

These anti-heroes might be morally ambiguous, always make tough decisions that they know will hurt someone else, or are just downright unlikeable and do things for their own selfish benefits.

The word “anti” simply means “against.” A character with morals may be against certain actions such as cheating on their spouse or stealing from someone else’s home while an anti-hero will do these actions without remorse if it benefits them in some way.

Anti-heroes often struggle with their own personal moral code, making it difficult to tell right from wrong at times.

Let’s take a look at the psychology of the anti hero:

Types Of Anti-Heroes

There are many different types of antiheroes in literature and each one has a unique personality, but they all share the same common thread.

Anti-heroes are usually someone who is flawed or broken in some way and instead of trying to fix themselves, they embrace these flaws and use them for their own benefit.

In modern literary fiction and movies, an antihero is a protagonist who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism or the desire to do good for society.

They may be selfish, morally ambiguous and they often have significant character flaws that cause them to behave in ways that are ethically questionable.

In contrast with traditional heroes (e.g., Odysseus), these characters are not driven by their personal values but rather by their own self-interests or desires for revenge.

What Makes Someone An Anti-Hero?

Anti-heroes are often the most interesting characters in a story. It’s easy to see why when you consider that they’re not always likable or pleasant people, and yet we can’t help but be drawn to them.

They have an edge that sets them apart from other characters by being just a little bit out of reach, which makes us want to know more about them and what makes them tick.

The term “anti-hero” gets thrown around a lot in modern-day media, but what does it mean? The word hero is defined as “a person who has great courage and nobility of purpose.”

People often refer to anti-heroes as someone who lacks the qualities expected of a traditional hero. They have characteristics that are both good and bad.

Some of the most popular anti-heroes in literature include: Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, Holden Caulfield from The Catcher In the Rye, and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.

What Is An Example Of An Anti-hero?

An anti-hero is a protagonist in the story, who may be seen as villainous or immoral by society.

Anti-heroes are often considered more interesting than traditional heroes because they push the boundaries of what’s expected from them.

They’re not always good people, sometimes acting selfishly for their own personal gain.

They’re characters that we can’t look away from. They have qualities that make us want to see how it all plays out.

What is an example of an anti-hero? Here’s a great video with some of the best movie anti heroes:


A great example of an anti-hero in literature would be Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

Is An Anti-Hero A Villain?

Anti-heroes are often portrayed as more realistic or down-to-earth than traditional heroes.

The ambiguity of their moral status makes them intriguing for many readers. But what about villains? Is there any distinction between an anti-hero and a villain?

The answer lies in intent, though it’s not always easy to tell if someone has good intentions or bad intentions from the outset.

Villains may have some admirable traits (such as intelligence) that make them complex characters worth exploring but they also exhibit characteristics that society deems morally unacceptable (such as cruelty). Anti-heroes on the other hand

A villain is a person who causes trouble, harm, or injury to others. They are often the main antagonist of a story and their goal is usually to do something bad, such as take over the world or kill someone.

So what if there was more than one type of villain? What if there were some people that caused trouble but didn’t necessarily have an evil agenda?

A villain is the protagonist’s arch-enemy, and an anti-hero is a protagonist that isn’t necessarily good.

For example, in the show Breaking Bad Walter White becomes an anti-hero as he evolves from being a family man to a drug dealer who murders people.

One of the reasons why Walter White became an anti-hero was because his actions were morally ambiguous.

An anti-hero is not always the villain in a story. These are often characters that have a lot of depth and complexity.

They may do things that many people would consider wrong, but they also usually end up doing right by someone before the story ends.

Is An Anti-Hero Still A Hero?

There’s a lot of debate over what makes a hero.

  • Is it someone who saves lives?
  • Someone who’s selfless and kind?
  • Or is it someone with the qualities that we all aspire to have?

For many, the mark of heroism has been set by characters like Superman and Captain America, but in today’s world, where anti-heroes are gaining popularity on TV screens and comic book pages alike, there’s a new question: can an anti-hero be considered heroic too?

Some people believe that an anti-hero is not a hero at all. They may be a villain or just someone who does bad things for good reasons.

So an anti hero is a hero on some level. They just don’t fit the classic hero stereotype.

Anti-Hero vs. Villain

Some might say that the villain is an anti-hero. They have a cause and they’re fighting for what they believe in, but sometimes their methods are not as moral or upstanding as those of your average superhero.

Heroes are often portrayed as the protagonist who is good and righteous. In contrast, villains appear to be bad people who want to do harm or evil deeds.

Yet, this is not always true.

For example, someone might become a villain because they were hurt by something that happened in their life and became angry about it. So they decide to do some harm and violence out of revenge or anger towards others.

The truth is that both anti-heroes and villains can exist in different forms of media (books, movies, TV shows) for entertainment purposes or as an allegory for real-life circumstances

The word “villain” has a sense of evil, and the word “hero” is someone who does good deeds.

But in today’s society, what constitutes a hero can be debatable. The difference between heroes and villains is not always black and white.

In some ways, the word “villain” is a misnomer. Villains are typically portrayed as evil for no other reason than they’re in opposition to the protagonist of the story – this is not always true.

Sometimes villains have tried and failed to do good and now feel that their only recourse is violence or evil.

Other times, villains might be more selfishly motivated and not actually want anything bad to happen to them, but they know that if it does then it will benefit them somehow.

We hope you found this article on anti heroes, what they are, how to write & create them really helpful. Have any questions on what is an anti hero? Let us know in the comments below.